The Choice Paralysis: Why We’re Paralysed by Choice & What To Do About it

Look at this situation, have you seen in happen, either with yourself or with someone you know.

“I want to go on a Diet.”

“Which diet should I choose? “

Perform Google search about best diets to follow.

Find a GAZILLION diets.

End up confused.

Get on with the daily routine of the day and forget about the diet and weight loss.

This is what happens to people when they search for any sort of weight loss/health plan.

I must add, that this is probably the Single biggest reason that people take no action whatsoever.

In the old days, when there was no internet and the only way we consumed content was primarily through written media such as newspapers or books, people ACTUALLY took action.

The likelihood of taking action was much higher because there was no conflicting information.

Today, you read about X diet on the internet and you think to yourself, “I think I should try this diet”.

You spend 2 hours researching why this diet is good and plan to implement it from tomorrow.

The next day, you receive a whatsapp message from someone in your friends that reads something like this “XYZ diet helps lose 30Kgs in 29 Days”.

That is It.

You trash all the research that you spent 2 Hours doing about the first diet, immediately look at this new diet.

But do you know what the Worst part is?

ALL DIETS WORK!

X diet will have proof that it worked for 900 people – PROVEN

Y diet will have proof that it worked for 1400 people- PROVEN

Z diet will have proof that it worked for 1000 people- PROVEN

This is what makes it totally confusing.

This phenomenon is what I call the Choice Paralysis. 

This happens to all of us, maybe about health or about something else.

In the 20th century, information was available, but if you wanted to know something, you’d have to go to a bookstore or a library and pick up a book.

In the 21st century, there is an explosion of information, but all we have to do is pull out our phones and search for whatever we want.

I’m grateful that we have all this information at our fingertips, but this leads to inaction more than Actual action.

If you see 100 diets with similar results, which one are you supposed to pick?

The answer to this one question will probably solve 90% of the problem.

“If you attempt to catch two rabbits, you will end up catching none” – Russian proverb

This quote is especially true in today’s media frenzy age where we try to catch not two but five or six rabbits at the same time.

At this stage, you’re probably thinking, so what do I do?

Personally, I struggled with this for a long time before I stumbled upon some wisdom from a book called The One Thing.

In the book the author changes the paradigm of success in any endeavour from multi tasking to mono tasking.

My take away from the book is that there is only one thing that will keep you from digressing from your goals.

That one thing is reinforcing your beliefs about the choice you made.

“To keep the main thing, the main thing is the main thing.” – Stephen Covey

Any time you have a thought about making a change to the main thing, it is crucial to remind yourself of why you chose this thing in the first place.

Here is how I do it.

I keep notes in an app called Evernote, I write down in Evernote, why I chose that particular thing, the diet/company/person etc.

I write down all the reasons that made me consider it in the first place. Here’s an example

My Evernote Note: Why I Chose the Alkaline Diet?

What do I see when I read this list?

I see that the diet made sense to me when I was first introduced to it.

I also see that Tony Robbins told me to be Alkaline.

I also updated the note at some point with a real result that I saw in my own body.

All of these reasons re-confirm to me that I have made the right decision with regards to the alkaline diet.

Many times, I would have forgotten these reasons.

If I don’t remind myself, it is easy to lose track. (Trust me on this, it is too easy to lose track)

There are different diets out there, for example, the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo diet talks about getting gluten out of your diet and it involves not eating grains (rice, wheat etc), it also involves a lot of meat eating.

That is how the term “Gluten Free” became popular.

I found that it wasn’t particularly what I wanted to do, so I chose the Alkaline Diet.

These personal beliefs of mine had a part to play in me choosing the Alkaline Diet.

Another way people remind themselves is to involve it in their morning ritual. They read to themselves the reasons they follow X diet or the reasons they are working on Y project. This reminds them everyday about what they believe and what they stand for.

It looks something like this

” I believe the Alkaline Diet works”

” I lose weight every day”

” I have perfect health”

If you have never heard of this, it may seem weird, BUT IT WORKS.

Almost all successful people practice some sort of reinforcing their beliefs.

Some people call them ‘affirmations’.

Tony Robbins calls this ‘Incantations’, his version includes repeating these statements loudly to yourself.

The Choice Paralysis is the biggest reason I see for a lack of action towards goals.

Every single day, I receive a ton of emails that keep asking me about “Should I do X?” or “I have this problem, can you help me?”.

I read every email I receive and respond to most.

Some people send me lengthy emails about a health problem they have, I reply back asking for some more information and they NEVER reply.

Why would they not respond?

Isn’t their health important to them?

Choice Paralysis?

Definitely!

I want to make one thing clear here, I don’t expect every single person in the world to follow the Alkaline Diet.

People have different body types, each body responds differently to the same medication, so it is not a surprise to me. (If you’re surprised by that statement, watch this TED talk.)

If for whatever reason, someone is not willing to or unable to follow the Alkaline Diet, that is Perfectly alright.

Perhaps they found something that works for them.

In fact, I have several friends who follow different diets and healthstyles, and we hang out regularly.

As long as you are not paralysed by Choice, you are fine.

In most cases, you are more than fine, you are spectacular because you are on the high way without any speed breakers.

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